Tag Archives: Automatic Transmissions

Transmission Additives- Do They Work?

When it comes to transmission additives, why are the shelves at most auto suppliers loaded with “miracle” fluids that will allegedly make up for a prior lack of maintenance? Can these additives actually fix a transmission?

Let`s be frank. There are no “miracle” fluids that can substitute for preventative maintenance, this is just common sense. The only way to repair a transmission problem is to properly diagnose it by road testing, scanning the computer, and removing the pan for inspection.

Fluid additives do offer limited benefits for vehicles being used for certain tasks or in certain climates or weather conditions. Here we’ll cover the basics of ATF importance, why most vehicles don’t require these additives and the instances when ATF additives can help.

First of all, a refresher on why we need ATF in the first place. ATF is essential to the smooth running of a vehicle’s transmission. ATF has lubricants, protectants and detergents that protect the transmission and keeps it in good working order.

Generally, most vehicles are simply used to take people to work, school or shopping so don’t need ATF additives. For these everyday activities the manufacturer recommended automatic transmission fluid alone should be enough to protect the transmission in most situations they will encounter. As long as the owner of the vehicle takes the time to makes sure there is enough transmission fluid in it and they change the transmission fluid when it is dirty there should be no need for an automatic transmission fluid additive.

There is no fluid that will:

  • unclog plugged filters
  • free-up stuck valves/solenoids
  • reduce internal corrosion
  • improve shift feel/firmness
  • prolong the life of your transmission
  • replace the friction material on your transmission’s clutch plates
  • put the teeth back on the stripped gears

Keep in mind that most vehicle manufacturers have warnings in their owner’s manuals stating: “Do not use supplemental oil additives, cleaners or other treatments. They are unnecessary and could lead to damage that is not covered by warranty.” Or: “Using supplemental additives is generally unnecessary and can even be harmful. One should never use an additive to attempt to fix a mechanical problem.”

Who could benefit from using additives?

A small majority of vehicle owners could potentially benefit from using these additives. Mainly, vehicles with high mileage which are constantly being used to tow heavy loads in adverse weather conditions. Heat and wear are the enemies of a transmission. Vehicles which are involved in racing or towing heavy loads are hard on transmissions. They often generate excessive heat. While transmissions have built-in systems to mitigate some of this heat and strain these activities cause, the transmissions in vehicles which are under a great deal of stress can often benefit from using automatic transmission fluid additives.

For the owners of these vehicles the minor cost of additives makes using them a no brainer. Hence, there seem to be instances when ATF additives can help yet even in those situations, however, it is essential to get the right ATF additive.

So, the next time someone tells you they have a miraculous transmission additive for sale you’ll know better.

If you’re experiencing any sort of transmission problem, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection.

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CVT (Continuously Variable Transmissions): The Next Generation

You may have already heard of CVT, or Continuously Variable Transmission systems being used in newer vehicles with automatic transmission.

The concept of the continuously variable transmission has actually been around for over 500 years, but it has been getting a lot more attention recently given the huge push towards more fuel-efficient solutions for vehicles.

A CVT is an automatic transmission system that provides a smoother driving experience by way of optimizing the shifting process. By nature of the CVT, the transition between gears becomes almost seamless, and the effect of  “shift-shock” is lessened considerably.

CVTs also provide better fuel economy and power usage because it allows the engine to operate at optimum power, no matter how fast the vehicle is traveling.

The term “continuously variable” means that instead of actual gear “stages”, the CVT allows for a continuous variation within the engine so that there are no perceived transitions between gears.

Different Types of CVTs

There are several types of continuously variable transmissions, many of which are now available from major auto manufacturers.

Pulley-Based

The most common CVT uses an intricate pulley system instead of gears in order to provide seamless gear transitions.

Toroidal CVT

This transmission system uses rotating discs and power rollers to accomplish the function of the pulley system from a pulley-based CVT.

Hydrostatic

A Hydrostatic CVT uses pumps to regulate fluid flow and create rotational motion.

Why Haven’t CVTs Replaced All Transmission systems?

Because of the way a CVT handles the management of power and torque, the feeling of a CVT is far different than a manual transmission.

A CVT will also idle in any gear, and because the sounds of regulation are often similar to that of a slipping or clunking transmission, people have customarily shied away from using them.

Of course, once there is a wider adoption, and people become familiar with the inherent benefits to using a CVT, as in, better fuel economy, more power, potential faster acceleration (over time), then we may just see CVTs taking on the role of the future of transmission systems in the vehicles of the future.

Mister Transmission technicians are well-versed in servicing manual, traditional automatic, as well as CVT systems for most any modern vehicle. Visit your local Mister Transmission shop today to ask about CVTs and how they are changing the face of the automotive industry.

Also see this article on CVTs.

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How Automatic Transmissions Work

Your vehicle’s automatic transmission is a remarkable piece of machinery. It may be complex to understand how it functions, but a little knowledge can go a long way toward preventing a breakdown

The most complex and intricate system in your car is its automatic transmission – understanding how it works can help save you time, hassle, and money. Comprised of a series of mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical components, they are all controlled by your car’s engine control unit, aka the powertrain control module.

A short drive to a nearby store means your transmission will likely shift about 25 to 30 times. Now imagine how many trips like that you make in a year and the impact they have on your transmission.

Shift Your Thinking about Your Automatic Transmission

Automatic transmission gear changes are monitored and executed by your vehicle’s internal computer. A torque converter uses the pressure and flow of transmission fluid to not only regulate the gear changes but also to allow the engine to continue running even when at a full stop. It also makes for a smoother shifting between gears.

When fluid levels in the transmission drop, so does the pressure that controls the shifting of gears. That can cause friction and less effective cooling, in turn leading to damage and potentially expensive repairs.

Recognizing Automatic Transmission Warning Signs

Preventing a breakdown from stranding you at the roadside requires insight into the warning signs your car will send if you’re on the cusp of experiencing a transmission-related problem. These warning signs include:

  • Grinding, rattling, or whining noises when changing gears or problems shifting gears
  • A delay in movement or your car jerks or shakes as it accelerates
  • Your transmission fluid is low, or you notice it pooling beneath the engine where you park
  • If you check your transmission fluid and see it’s not a reddish colour
  • You smell a burning odour while or after you drive

If you suspect your vehicle’s automatic transmission isn’t performing properly, or if you have questions about preventative transmission maintenance, contact us. Take advantage of our free 21-point multi-check inspection and avoid the cost and aggravation associated with a failing transmission.

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